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Transportation Hurdles Faced by the Elderly

Everyone slows down and develops physical frailties as they age. This does not mean that the elderly lose interest in travel, physical activities, socializing and entertainment outside the home. In fact, these activities and the mental stimulus that they provide are an important factor in helping seniors remain mentally alert and agile.

The problem that many of the elderly face is that their physical limitations often affect their ability to travel. Travel, in this context, does not mean long-distance journeys; it means being able to move around town to get to places and people of interest. According to a 2011 report published by the National Caregivers Library, there are 8.4 million seniors in this country who are dependent on others for their transportation.

There are a number of reasons for this:

  • Driving: Cars and roads are designed for use by younger fit drivers. Slowing reflexes, diminished eyesight and loss of energy/stamina all make it not just difficult but also unsafe for seniors to drive themselves.
  • Taxis: Getting a taxi when it is needed is often a problem. Add to this the difficulty that some seniors have in entering and exiting cars means taxis are often not a viable form of transport. Add to this is the discomfort that the physically impaired may feel when sitting in a regular car seat and the problems increase manifold.
  • Buses and Subways: Climbing on to a bus can be impossible for the elderly and if they do get on board, moving down the aisle to find a seat and then sitting on a hard bench can be next to impossible. The same problem arises with subways with the added issue of getting in and out of the station.
  • Steps and Ramps: Walking, even for short distances, can be dangerous because of the existence of steps and ramps that seniors may have trouble negotiating. A fall could have very serious consequences. Read More...
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